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St. Regis students cash in at Stock Market Game

by AMY QUINLIVAN
Mineral Independent | January 17, 2024 12:00 AM

The typical high school student has a limited knowledge of investing, saving, and basic comprehension of the stock market. St. Regis history teacher, Jeff Stanek, has worked for the past several years to help change the trend of financial illiteracy.

“I have been teaching U.S. history students the basics of investing in the stock market for the last five years by creating my own stock simulation game during our project on the 1929 stock market crash and the Great Depression,” explained Stanek. “Our business teacher, Mrs. Phillips shared with me that the state of Montana puts on a competition doing the same thing with cash prizes; so, I enrolled my class.

The Stock Market Game is a nine-week simulation where teams of students use a hypothetical $100,000 each to invest in the stock market. Students are required to have a minimum of five separate stocks and/or mutual funds at the end of the competition. So, researching companies and diversification are vital for success. Over 1,400 students competed in the fall Stock Market Game from 50 different schools. Top state winners are awarded cash prizes from the generous sponsor, Glacier Bancorp and its Montana family of banks.

Stanek detailed, “Every Student tracks their trades using an investment journal. During the Stock Market Game, I teach micro lessons on different investment strategies including short-term vs. long-term investments, mutual fund basics, what bonds are and when/how to invest in them, small cap vs. large cap stocks, short selling, investments based on trends in the news, and the impact of interest rates on the stock market.”

Eight teams competed in the Stock Market Game from Stanek’s U.S. history class. 

“We had four teams place in the top 20, with Jamie Kearbey and Averie Burnham's team receiving the award for the top team of all class C Montana schools," he said. "Furthermore, Jack Connolly, Kaden Sanders, and Dillon Thomas's team placed 3rd in the entire state, against all sizes of schools.”

St. Regis’ third-place team received $70 for each student a total of $210. The top-class C school team received $25 per student, $50 total.

Stanek who has been teaching at St. Regis for six years expressed, “It was incredibly beneficial for the students. As I said before, I have already been devoting a project to teaching students how to save and invest their money. I was never taught these skills or lessons when I was younger, so I feel obliged to teach our younger generations how to invest their money wisely and break out of the financial illiterate cycle.”

He also added, “Although many students might not choose a career in finance or investing, any of them can benefit from knowing how to manage their money, invest wisely for their future goals, and take small amounts of savings and grow it over time to better their quality of life. That could be extra money for a vacation, being able to pay cash for a vehicle, or purchasing property without a loan.”

The SIFMA Foundation holds the Stock Market Game in partnership with the Montana Council of Economic Education and Glacier Banks. This competition again emphasized the importance of providing Montana’s youth with real-world financial skills and knowledge. Registration is now open for the Spring 2024 competition. First trades for the 9-week class simulation will start on February 5, and go through April 12, 2024.

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